Wife says pensioner who died choking on cauliflower at Highgate care home 'suffered unnecessarily'

A pensioner who died after choking on cauliflower at a north London care home suffered "unnecessarily", his distraught wife said. Cristofaro Priolo, 80, suffered a cardiac arrest at Highgate Care Home in Hornsey Lane, where he was living with Alzheimer's. The retired caretaker relied on others to feed him safely and was supposed to be on a soft food diet, but he was fed large chunks of almost raw cauliflower. "He suffered so much, that's the worst thing I think, because he suffered so much, unnecessarily. It was a cruel way to go," said wife Wendy. "He was such a good person, happy person, always helping other when he could. "I've lost a great friend a good husband and all the family miss him," she added. The Coroner at the inquest into Mr Priolo's death found that staff at the care home, run by Bupa, failed to recognise he had suffered a cardiac arrest.

The Highgate Care Home in north London where Cristofaro Priolo was fed cauliflower

They also failed to give appropriate first aid and 18 months on staff still did not know what to do in cases of choking. In a statement Bupa said: "We have enhanced checks to ensure meals are in line with out residents' care plans. We offer our sincere condolences to Mr Priolo's family.

Mr Priolo was only meant to be at the care home temporarily until the end of lockdown. "I know he has dementia and I knew he would eventually go - but not to go the way he did," his wife Wendy said.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...